Milwaukee, WI - Wisconsin state legislators have been circulating bills that could privatize dozens of public schools and bankrupt school districts. These bills are NOT about improving schools – they’re about taking control away from communities and families, and giving it to private businesses so they can turn a profit.
However, the people of Milwaukee aren’t taking this threat lying down. On Thursday night parents, students, neighbors, educators and community members braved sub-zero temperatures to stand up for one school at risk of privatization. At Hopkins Lloyd Community School over 100 people came together to voice their opposition to the plan, holding the message “DEFEND PUBLIC SCHOOLS” high in the winter air.
Hopkins Lloyd Community School is one of those identified by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction as “failing.” Rather than give the under-resourced school the support it needs to serve its community, however, some Wisconsin legislators seem to think the answer is to turn it into a for-profit business. On Thursday the assembled crowd firmly rejected this faulty logic, and instead demanded real solutions that benefit their children and keep control of the school in the hands of the community.
The Overpass Light Brigade held their “UNIFIED FOR KIDS” message high in the back row of Thursday night’s School Board meeting.
Milwaukee, WI - Over 500 Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) educators and their allies showed up at Thursday night’s Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) School Board meeting in a tremendous show of solidarity and strength. MTEA members and their many supporters were completely silent in entering the meeting and sat holding signs making several demands:
Economic justice for educational assistants
Smaller class sizes for better learning
Restoration of art, music, and physical education classes
Fair contracts and fair learning conditions
An overflow crowd waits silently to enter the MPS School Board meeting.
The silent protest opened with the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) marching a brilliant “UNIFIED FOR KIDS” message to the back of the room, where each holder of the light raised their letter above their head, while simultaneously a sea of educators flowed silently into the auditorium filling every single seat. Even though every last seat was filled, the entire adjoining hallway was still crammed with overflow crowd. Organizers did an excellent job of moving people in and out of the auditorium to ensure that everyone who showed up in support would receive a chance to sit. Groups of about thirty would get up silently and leave the auditorium as a new group of thirty would immediately fill the vacated seats.
Educators and OLB holders of the light hold their message outside MPS Central Office
The School Board Directors and MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton had to be impressed with the massive showing of solidarity. The MTEA sent a clear message that educators are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they have the proper working conditions to be able to more effectively provide the proper learning conditions for Milwaukee’s children.